Those who are not aficionados or are new to the cigar scene may only know Henry Clay as a politician from the early 19th century. However, Henry Clay is the brand name of one of the most popular cigar brands. The Henry Clay brand was established because Cuban tobacconists wanted to make a cigar for the American market. Spaniard Julián Álvarez Granda suggested the brand was named after the famed politician Henry Clay, “The Great Compromiser”.
Henry Clay was known as the “The Great Compromiser” because he was always willing to find a way to make the system better for the people. Clay spearheaded the Whig party and developed the American System, an economic plan that features three main components including industry funding sourced from tariffs, federal subsidies for transportation infrastructure, and a national bank.
Clay was one of the biggest political leaders at the time, especially among agricultural communities, which contributed to the cigar brand’s popularity. Granda was grossing over $36 million a year on Henry Clay cigars in the late 19th century.
After Granda’s passing, an 11 month torcedor strike, and increased tariffs to bring the cigars into America the Henry Clay brand was moved out of Cuba in 1932. The Henry Clay and Bock & Co. Ltd. Cigar Factory took over production in Trenton, New Jersey. The factory is now a Historic landmark, it sticks out among the other New England building because of its Spanish Revival style.
The Consolidated Cigar Company had ownership of the brand. Consolidated Cigars merged with Altadis and now the brand is produced under the watchful eye of Altadis’ master blenders. Henry Clay cigars are handmade in the Dominican Republic and are medium to full bodied strength.
The brand has expanded to feature two other lines besides the original. The Henry Clay Tattoo line is masterfully blended by Pete Johnson, the skilled tobacconist behind Tatuaje cigars. Henry Clay Stalk Cut is made using tobacco that has been dried in tack with its stem which results in richer and more velvety leaves.
Henry Clay cigars remain wildly popular today. After over 175 years of production, it appears that fathers have passed down the love of Henry Clay cigars to their sons and daughters. Cigar Aficionado has given several 90+ ratings to the brand throughout the years.
A handcrafted Henry Clay cigar is the perfect way to unwind after a long day or celebrate an important event with friends and family. These premium cigars are unlike the senator they are named after because they do not compromise on quality. The cigars resemble Henry Clay’s political mission because their purpose is to bring harmony to a group of individuals and benefit them in the process.